Author Topic: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?  (Read 825 times)

Frznrth

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Hi
I'm a speech therapist.  I started a website www.speech-therapyathome.com to try to give parents ideas on how to help their kids at home - and also to try to sell some of my home therapy programs.  I am clearly not a web designer but I tried my best to come up with something.  So far it hasn't had much success.  I tried using google ads to get some traffic just to see what would happen.  For $150 the ad was shown almost 20000 times resulting in 378 people looking at my site.  Of those 5 purchased my products - I cut my price to .99 just to see if people would buy and hopefully leave feed back.  So far no feedback.  I tried a different ad before at a higher price and didn't get any purchases.  My site ranks very low in search results - its new and I don't know what I'm doing.  It would be nice if people could find it in searches then I wouldn't have to pay for trafic  - but that seems like a long unclear road. 

I know of a few other Speech Therapy sites that sell products.  I think they do Ok - but thats just speculation.  A bit of extra income would be great - breaking even would be nice.  The site will cost about $100 a year in hosting.

So am I wasting my time and money pursuing something like this?  Is there any point in hiring someone to make it look more professional or to improve my search results?   

Thanks for your time and thoughts - I'm very interested in the mustachio point of view.       

GettingClose

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 75
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2018, 12:18:08 PM »
The site itself looks pretty good to me.  That doesn't help with the issue of driving (buying) traffic to the site, though.

PoutineLover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 844
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2018, 12:35:59 PM »
The site looks nice. I think your program is too cheap to be honest. I get that you are trying to get reviews, but it makes it look like it's not worthwhile or doesn't have much value.
Can you try more advertising in real life places (preschools, schools, day camps, doctors offices?). Maybe a poster with a QR code and little papers to rip off with your link on it.
And try more posting online, maybe in parenting groups, forums, websites, etc. with your link to drive more traffic. Not in a spammy way, but in a genuinely helpful way.
Also, maybe do some research into search engine optimization - find out what keywords people type to find products like yours, and what search terms do drive people to your site. I don't know all that much about it, but it seems to be a good way to build up real traffic to your site.
Good luck! I had speech therapy when I was a kid and it was super helpful, so I know there's lots of kids who could benefit from this kind of thing.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6742
  • Location: United States
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2018, 02:07:18 PM »
I agree with real life advertising- we had a ton of similar services at a local baby fair for instance.  Many people wouldn't even know this stuff is out there.

Do you have videos on youtube? Use those to pitch what your product is and then send people to your website. It will also be tough to get those seen, but gives you another place to get your name out there.

BicycleB

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 188
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2018, 02:30:15 PM »
What are the common search results when parents search for speech pathology stuff? Does your site come up?

Google has ways you can research this kind of thing. There are people who research Google searches, develop products that match them, and end up with profitable business.

Maybe give customers the option of paying $19.99 or leaving a comment. I bet you'd get feedback then.  :)

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 767
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2018, 03:35:34 PM »
I agree that you have a marketing problem rather than a website problem. It's nothing fancy, but looks decent.

I'd also +1 the discount might be too much. There are some tech-focused website that sell 'courses' for what is probably a reasonable price, but I never buy them at that price because I know I can get them for near to free if I wait around a little bit. It also lowers the value of those courses, in my eyes.

It sounds like you need to do some marketing work. I'm no expert, but if you try talking to people who are your target market is probably a good step, in addition to learning more about how online advertising works (or doesn't, as the case may be).

Frznrth

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2018, 09:37:27 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear that it doesn't look too bad.  I'll try to do some marketing to see if I can get more people to have a look at it and hopefully some sales.  The price is likely so low that it looks like it doesn't have value.  I'll try something a bit higher - no point in the lower price if no one is giving me reviews - hopefully they will come in time. 

Real life advertising wouldn't be easy.   Its a bit of a conflict of interest for me to sell what people in my area can get for free if they come and see me.  I'd have to drive out of province - not realistic.  I'll see what I can do online.  Someone once told me facebook can be good for this. 
 
Thanks again.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2323
  • Location: NZ
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2018, 12:47:28 AM »
I’d recommend you read through the Social Triggers blog archive.

https://socialtriggers.com/blog/

Frznrth

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2018, 07:31:27 AM »
Thanks - I checked it out a bit  seem to have some good ideas.  I think some sort of blog of my own or online presence would drive people my way   I just need to convince myself that it is worth my time 
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 07:36:18 AM by Frznrth »

asiljoy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2018, 08:37:30 AM »
I'd replace the imagine you have front and center with a call to action/description of value you provide; don't make people work to figure it out.  I have to scroll on my computer to get to any unique content and people just generally don't do that.

In your case, you might want to banner "Work on Speech Sounds at Home!" followed by a description of why and how.

walkingmiller

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2018, 09:05:39 AM »
A web developer here - your site looks just fine, but there are a number of ways you could benefit from working with a professional. If you were my client and were on a budget, I would focus on the structure of the site more than anything (make sure potential customers  do not have to work to find out what the site is about, why they should trust you, and how to do what you want them to do - purchase products). Some of this will have to do with design (make the product page a little more traditional store-like), and some of it will have to do with rearranging your content and being a bit more clear in your copy. Also, everyone's suggestion on pricing is spot on. One of the most important pieces of feedback for any business is whether people will be willing to pay a price that makes the product sustainable. Figure out what you feel it "costs" to create your resources (or what you would be happy selling them at) and try to sell them at that price point.

All that being said, this type of thing just takes time, especially if you are not a marketing professional. Getting found on Google is not easy, especially if your site is new. Blogging would be a great option if you enjoy it, but it is almost always a bad way to make quick money because it takes a tremendous amount of time.

But, if this is something that you could enjoy as a hobby, it could really pay off in the long run. The beautiful thing about a site like yours is that it monetizes something that you are already doing, and once you do have traction, it can be a fairly passive source of income. 

If you do want to do this and are committed for the long-term, here are my recommendations:
  • Start blogging. Sit down and create a blog topic calendar where you write up a blog post about every 2 weeks.
  • Join at least 2 Facebook support groups for parents with kids who struggle with speech. Offer your advice and help in those groups. Once you have established yourself in these groups, you can start people to your site for at-home resources.
  • Start thinking about ways that you can increase your professional online presence. This might be through having a professional presence on social media or through being willing to write for other speech therapy blogs.
  • Read Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug - it will give you most of the info you need to fix most of the usability problems on the site.
  • Once you are making a bit more money, hire a professional to help with the site and a marketing plan.

Hopefully this helps and isn't discouraging! If it is something that you could enjoy doing, it could be a great investment in the long run, both for you financially and professionally!

Frznrth

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2018, 08:33:24 PM »
Thank you!  Those are all great points that I will start working on.

So what I'm hearing is that there is some potential for a site like mine to actualy not lose money.  The horrible results from my google ads can be overcome?

 I don't mind doing the site as a bit of a hobby - especially with the dream of someday paying for a beer or two as I do it sitting on a beach someplace.  If I do start to make a bit of money or feel I have some to "invest" I will definitely look up your services.

Thanks again. 
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 08:56:53 PM by Frznrth »

BicycleB

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 188
  • Location: Live Music Capital of the World
  • Older than the internet, but not wiser... yet
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2018, 06:07:36 AM »
You are trying to decide whether this has earnings potential, right?

Have you done any market research to quantify the possible earnings?

What is the best selling book or course of all time in speech pathology? How many copies were sold at what price? Is your product comparable? How much would you earn at that level of sales?

Are there competitors who would talk to you about their business if you approached them as a fellow speech pathologist?

Are there people with similar businesses in a different field of the same size that you could contact for advice? I know a special ed teacher, it makes me think that such people exist somewhere and could be contacted for information. If your specialty is a resource to families, what similar resources include specialists who sell their products/services in a way similar to what you are contemplating?

Frznrth

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2018, 08:00:38 AM »
I've seen a few books and programs out there to help parents work with their kids speech/language at home.  I don't know how they do for sales.  I know of a site where teachers make and sell simple products to other teachers.  Some there make 30-50k a year.  That would be excellent but I'd be happy with anything I can get. 

I think there is potential as parents are always going to be having questions about how to help their kids and public services don't seem to be keeping up. 

I'd like the site to eventually generate a little revenue but it isn't anything I'm going to count on.  Mostly I was just looking for opinions on how I could improve the site and to make sure I wasn't completely wasting my time (and a bit of money).  You have all thankfully given me lots of great info and advice on this.  Hopefully I can repay somehow. 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 08:03:39 AM by Frznrth »

SillyPutty

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2018, 08:42:31 AM »
+1 to everything walkingmiller said.

I work as a content strategist, so just wanted to give two small suggestions about the copy—
- Change the homepage headline from "Ideas to Grow On" to "Speech Therapy at Home." (Ideas to Grow On won't orient users to the site and its purpose, plus it has little SEO value)
- Cut down on the copy on the homepage. There's a lot right now--it's a bit overwhelming at first glance. You could turn the Whys of Speech Therapy into your first blog post, and then link to it from the homepage.

Think about advertising on Facebook, too. For not much money, you can target pretty precise demographics.

I definitely think this has the potential to be a moneymaker. I had speech therapy in school, and would have much preferred receiving it at home (and not getting pulled out of class a couple times a week).

Good luck!

Frznrth

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Trying to start a website - worth continuing? wasting time and money?
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2018, 08:25:52 AM »
Thanks for the advice and especially the vote of confidence - I'll start working on those changes and will try a facebook ad once I get it changed around.

I guess the long front page doesn't help with SEO?  I had hoped all the content on the home page might be a "hook" for people to see the importance of helping their kids at home but I can see how it would make the page overwhelming - I'll use it as my first blog.

Is a blog inherently better than just adding to the "ideas" section of my site?  Is the goal to build up a following with the blog?  Are blogs better for SEO?

I asked similar questions a few months ago to some online business/website development type forms - I got a bit of good advice but this community has been far more friendly and helpful.  Glad I found it. 
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 10:29:49 AM by Frznrth »